The Military Army Blog

Making the ultimate sacrifice in war

THROUGHOUT the centenary of the First World War, we have been remembering the brave men from Loughborough and the surrounding areas who lost their lives during the conflict. Here, with the help of Marigold Cleeve and a small number of researchers from the Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum, we continue to look back on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in July 1916.

Private Frank Joseph Cuthbertson was born in 1891 in Little Ilford, Essex, the son of John Hubert Cuthbertson, draper, and Elizabeth Louise Cuthbertson.

In 1891 the Cuthbertson family lived at 14 Romford Road, Little Ilford, but by 1911 they were living at Trainsville, Duncombe Hill, Forest Hill, Honor Oak, Kent, and Frank s father was described as an Agent for railway material .

Frank s parents later moved to 50 Mayow Road, Sydenham.

Frank had two brothers John and Cecil and one sister Mabel.

By the time he enlisted, Frank was engaged to Miss Maud Christine Goddard, known as Chrissie , of 3 Burleigh Road, Loughborough.

Frank enlisted at Shepherds Bush, London, and joined D Coy, 22nd (Service) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (also known as the City of London Regiment) as Private 1122.

Frank s battalion was formed at White City on September 11, 1914, by the Mayor and Borough of Kensington and was known as the Kensington Battalion.

Frank was sent to France on November 16, 1915.

On November 25, 1915, Frank s battalion was transferred to the Army s 2nd Division and went into the trenches at B thune.

From B thune the battalion moved to Cantraine and then Beuvry, where the men spent Christmas in the trenches.

From January to May 1916 the battalion operated in the area of Festubert, Souchez, Bruay and Ourton doing trench tours, training and resting.

On May 22, 1916, they moved to the front line trenches at Talus des Zouaves in the area of Vimy Ridge.

At the beginning of July 1916 at the start of the Somme Offensive, Frank s battalion was in the trenches at Berthonval, near Vimy.

On July 9 the men were relieved by the 1st Royal Berkshire Regiment and proceeded to Camblain-l Abb , nine miles north-west of Arras until July 13 when they returned to Berthonval.

By July 24 they were in trenches at Montauban and subjected to night gas shelling from the enemy.

On July 27 Frank s battalion was called upon to be part of a second attack on Delville Wood which was held by the enemy and overlooked British positions.

Frank survived the successful attack and capture of Delville Wood but was killed in action on the following day in nearby trenches, aged 25.

He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 8 C9A and 16A.

Frank s fianc e Chrissie Goddard never married and died in Loughborough in 1981.

Private Harry Smalley was born in June 1894, the son of John Smalley, a mechanical engineer from Shepshed, and Maria Smalley of Loughborough. In 1901, when Harry was six, the family was living at number 5 Wards End, Loughborough. Harry had an older brother John, an older sister Dorothy known as Dolly , and a younger brother, William.

Harry was educated at the Loughborough Grammar School and in 1910 began a period of apprenticeship with Bailey and Simpkin, outfitters, in Loughborough. By 1911 the Smalley family had moved to 39 Market Place, Loughborough, and Harry s father was now a confectioner. Harry enlisted for short service (three years with the colours) in Loughborough on September 3, 1914.

He joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment on September 24, 1914, as Private 12833. In April 1915 Harry s battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of Kitchener s 2nd New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. Harry travelled to France on July 29, 1915.

Initially the 37th Division concentrated near Tilques. The 8th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In September 1915 Harry was admitted to No. 49 Field Ambulance with scabies and just over a month later to the same field ambulance with influenza.

On November 2 he was transferred to the Convalescent Depot in Rouen (No. 8 General Hospital). On December 8 he moved to the 37th Infantry Base at Etaples, a holding and training camp. He appears to have stayed at Etaples until July 10, 1916, when he was attached to the 20th Battalion of the King s (Liverpool) Regiment, joining the battalion in the field on July 12.

At the time, the 20th King s Liverpool was in the area of Maricourt, south-east of Amiens. On July 29 the battalion was ordered to the assembly trenches near Maurepas amidst heavy gas shelling by the enemy. On July 30 an attack on the enemy was launched in thick mist.

On August 5, 1916, Harry was reported as having gone missing in action on July 30 by the Officer Commanding the 20th King s Liverpool. His body was recovered; he had died of wounds on or shortly after July 30, 2016, aged 22. Harry s identity disc was returned to his father on March 1, 1918.

He is buried at Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont, Picardy, Grave XII. M. 2. Harry s brother William joined the RAF on May 14, 1918, aged 17, and served with 153 Squadron. He survived the war.

Private Alfred Watson was born in Loughborough in 1894 to William Watson, a general labourer, and Elizabeth Ann, a seamstress.

In 1891 the family was living at 2 Court B, Nottingham Road, Loughborough, but by 1901, following his father s death in 1897, Alfred, his mother and siblings (Eliza, Ruth, Edward, Edith and James) had moved to 6 Market Street, Loughborough.

Alfred s mother was remarried in 1902 to Joseph Mallen Pountney, a labourer, and they had four more children (George, Priscilla, Elsie and John).

The growing family moved to 34 King Street, and later to 4 Mills Yard.

Alfred attended the Emmanuel Church Bible Class and by 1911, aged 17, had become an engineering labourer.

Alfred would appear to have enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment in about 1911, possibly as a territorial soldier.

On December 7, 1914, he was sent to France as Private 10581 to join the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment.

The 2nd Leicesters took part in the Battles of Neuve Chapelle (March 10-13, 1915), Aubers Ridge (May 9, 1915) and Festubert (May 15 25, 1915).

Albert was wounded on the first day of the Battle of Festubert, when the 2nd Leicesters were holding some front line trenches.

There is no record of when Alfred transferred to the 16th (Service) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Chatsworth Rifles) but it is likely to have been when he recovered from his wounds. He was now Private 29085.

Alfred went to France for the second time on February 1, 1916.

From Boulogne, the battalion proceeded to Renescure, Robecq and then Paradis, south-west of Lestrem, when on April 19 they went into the trenches.

On July 15 Alfred s battalion was in bivouacs in Bois de Billon.

There is no record of how Alfred was killed or where he was when it happened.

It will probably always remain a mystery why he is remembered on the Loos Memorial (Panel 87-89) which is some distance away from Bois de Billon.

It is possible that he had been temporarily attached to another unit.

His brother Edward, who was with the 2nd Leicesters, had already been killed at the Battle of Loos in September 1915.

Private Arthur Hayes was born in Sneinton, Nottingham, in 1886, the son of Robert Hayes and his wife Hannah. Arthur s father was a framework knitter and his mother a hosiery worker who subsequently became a lace hand.

Arthur had a younger brother Robert and a younger sister Thirza. In 1891 the family lived at 8 Regent Hill, Nottingham, and in 1893 at 3 Florence Terrace, Nottingham. By 1901, however, life had changed dramatically for the Hayes family: Arthur s father and his brother Robert had both died, and his sister Thirza was at St. Joseph s Catholic Home and Reformatory for Girls at Nether Hallam, Sheffield.

Arthur and his mother, meanwhile, were boarding at 108 Red Lion Street, Nottingham, in the household of Samuel Greenwood, a widower with two young sons Arthur and Robert Greenwood and Arthur was working as a labourer on a potato farm. In 1903 Arthur s mother married Samuel Greenwood, a wooden box maker, and Arthur soon had twin step-brothers, Samuel and Harold. The family then moved to 29 Brassey Street, New Radford, Notts.

On May 27, 1904, Arthur, who had served with the militia in the 4th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (the Notts and Derby Regiment) since June 17, 1903, attested at Nottingham to join the Sherwood Foresters for a period of three years with the Colours and nine years in the Reserve. He was immediately posted to the Depot as Private 9385. On November 24 he was sent to Aldershot until November 4, 1905, when he was posted to join the 1st Battalion in Singapore and the Straits Settlements.

In May 1906 he was hospitalised in Singapore for an inflamed abscess caused by an ill-fitting boot. In the same month he was awarded a Good Conduct badge. He then moved with his battalion to Bangalore, south India.

On May 26, 1907, Arthur was transferred to the Army Reserve and returned to England. In 1911 Arthur was employed as an underground collier and living at 69 Selhurst Street, Nottingham, with his mother, step-father, and twin half-brothers. In the summer of 1914, Arthur s step-father died and Arthur himself was recalled by his regiment.

He rejoined the regiment at Derby on August 5, 1914, and moved on mobilisation to Cambridge. Arthur went to France on October 10 to join the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. On October 18-20 the 2nd Battalion fought a major battle at Enneti res en Weppes on the way to Ypres, holding a vastly superior German force for 48 hours and losing in the process 16 officers and 710 other ranks.

This action was followed by participation in the First Battle of Ypres (October 19 November 22, 1914). On November 11, 1914, Arthur received 10 days field punishment for drunkenness. The battalion remained in the Ypres Salient trenches at St. Jean, Elverdinghe and Yser Canal Bank, with rest and training periods at Poperinghe until March 18, 1916, when they left Poperinghe for Herzeele and Wormhoudt.

On March 27 they returned to Camp N at Poperinghe for further training until April 6 when they entrained at Houpotre for Calais. Training continued at Beau Maris Camp, near Calais, until April 15 when they returned to Camp G at Poperinghe and more tours in the trenches near Ypres. On May 6, 1916, Arthur went to No. 50 Casualty Clearing Station in the field and was diagnosed as having bronchitis.

He was sent by No. 17 Ambulance Train to No. 11 General Hospital at Camiers until June 2 when he was moved to No. 6 Convalescent Depot at Etaples. By July 9 he had recovered and was attached to the 7th Battalion of the King s Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment. Arthur joined them in the front line trenches north-east of Bazentin-le-Petit on the Somme on July 30.

He was killed in action, aged 30, the following day. Arthur was reported to have been buried on the Somme but is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Panel 39 and 41. His mother, who originally came from Leicestershire, moved to 7 Cradock Street in Loughborough after her second husband died in 1914.

She later moved to 12 Providence Square and then to 1 King William Yard.

Sergeant William Kilgour Miller was born in 1859 in the parish of St. Cuthbert s Church, near Princes Street, Edinburgh.

He was the son of John Miller, who later lived at 9 East Montgomery Place, Edinburgh, and attended the Presbyterian Church.

William had already served with 1st Battalion of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) for seven years when, on September 22, 1883, at Ballincollig, County Cork, Ireland, he attested to join the 2nd Dragoons of the Royal Scots Greys.

He was 25-years-old and had a tattoo of a Highlander and girl on his right arm, and on his left arm a tattoo of a shield.

He secured his release from the Black Watch by a payment of 14 and joined the Royal Scots Greys in Ballincollig as Private 2512.

He was appointed a Bandsman in the 2nd Dragoons on July 1, 1884, a position he held until September 21, 1890.

In November 1883 he was sent to Piershill Barracks in north-east Edinburgh where he stayed for two years until October 1885 when he moved to Aldershot.

On November 27, 1886, he married Kate Harrington, a farmer s daughter, in Farnham, Surrey.

In August 1887 he was posted to Brighton for 11 months.

In July 1888 he was sent to Ireland, firstly to Dundalk and then, in July 1890, to the Curragh.

On September 22, 1890, William transferred to Royal Scots Greys, 1st Class A Reserve, moved with his wife and two young sons James and William Kilgour Miller to Nottingham and joined the Nottingham City Police Force.

He left the Army Reserve on September 29, 1895.

His Armyrats © military papers record the following: Conduct very good. Habits regular and temperate and that he had been awarded Royal Humane Society Medal for Saving of Life.

Between 1893 and 1901, five daughters were born to William and Kate Kilgour Miller: Kate, Annie, Edith, Laura and Florrie.

In 1901 the family was living at 3 Baden Terrace, Nottingham, and William was a musician with the Robin Hoods (a unit of the Volunteer Force of the British Army).

Sometime between 1901 and 1909, the family moved to 88 Cobden Street, Loughborough, as William had obtained employment as a fitter and electric furnace labourer at the Brush Electrical Engineering Company.

On April 16, 1909, he attested at Loughborough, this time to join the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment (Territorials) for four years.

He was appointed Private 865 and was almost 50-years-old.

Between 1909 and 1911 he attended annual training camps at High Tor and Aberystwyth and was subsequently re-engaged in November 1912 and in February 1914.

He played a clarinet in the band.

William went to France with the 1/5th Leicesters on February 28, 1915, but two weeks later was sent to No. 11 Stationery Hospital at Rouen with bronchitis.

He was transferred back to England on March 22, 1915.

William resumed Armyrats © military duties in Loughborough and was attached to the administrative centre of the battalion at the Loughborough Drill Hall.

He was promoted to Acting Corporal on May 1, 1915, and to Acting Sergeant on July 3, 1915.

In March 1916, however, his health deteriorated and he was in Loughborough Hospital from March 30 to April 11 suffering from mitral stenosis.

He died at home (44 Leicester Road, Loughborough) on July 9, 1916, from pleurisy and pneumonia, aged 57.

A local newspaper report on William s funeral recorded that it was conducted by the Rev. Pitts, and deceased was accorded Armyrats © military honours. At the conclusion of the service three volleys were fired over the open grave by a firing party from Glen Parva, and the bugler sounded the Last Post .

William is buried in Loughborough Cemetery Grave 14/298.

William s sons both had Army careers and served in WW1, James with the 2nd Dragoons of the Royal Scots Greys and William with the 1st Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. Both survived the war.

Two of William s grandchildren, James Acquilla Kilgour Miller and John William Kilgour Miller, served in the Royal Navy in the Second World War and both lost their lives.

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